This book presents a comprehensive account of more than 200 years of controversy on the classical theories of value and distribution. The author focuses on four, perhaps most critical classics — Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, David Ricardo’s Principles of Political Economy, Karl Marx’s Capital and Piero Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. The book highlights several significant differences in the widely celebrated theories of the four authors as it searches for the ‘classical standpoint’ that separates them from the ‘moderns’. It also challenges canonical interpretations to analyse their flaws and weaknesses, in addition to the already obvious strengths, and critically engages with the major alternative interpretations and criticisms of the theories.
With a new Afterword that follows up on the debates and developments since the first edition, this book will appeal to scholars and academics of economic theory and philosophy, as well as to the general reader.
Table of Contents
Preface to the Second Edition. Preface. 1. The Theory of Value in Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations 2. The Theory of Value in Ricardo’s Principles 3. The Theory of Value in Marx’s Capital 4. The Theory of Value in Sraffa’s Production of Commodities 5. Conclusion: On the ‘Classical Standpoint’. Afterword. References. Index
Ajit Sinha is Professor of Economics at Azim Premji University, Bengaluru, India. He has published extensively on the history of economic theory. He is also the author of A Revolution in Economic Theory: The Economics of Piero Sraffa (2016) and Essays on Theories of Value in the Classical Tradition (forthcoming).